This story is by Nick Franck and was part of our 2017 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“I want you to kill me.” Said Sid’s wife, Lindra. Her green and red necklace shone in the sun, a match to the park’s vibrant colours. “It’s the sixth day. They’re allowed to kill me now. They’re protected by the law.”
“Their law, not ours.” Sid answered.
“They’ll do so anyway, and they’ll extract every last part of information I have on the king. They’ll find his letters!”
And then rule the country.
He snuck a peek at the prison guard, watching them from afar. He’d let them sit in the park. A distance away… “Do they have your signature?”
Sid sighed. It meant they had full power to compel her to do whatever whenever. “I can’t do it.” He said. “There must be another way!”
“No!” Her green eyes burned. “It’s either you write me from existence, or they take the country. It’s one or the other.”
Sid fidgeted with the straps of his long leather vest. “It’s also me losing you. And using my powers. What if I…” He was almost too afraid to mention it. He had been like those other Weavers once, manipulative and murderous.
“I know what I’m asking…” She stared at her hands. A wind swept up taking with it the colour scheme that dominated the landscape. The balding trees shed leaves of green, brown and yellow. A leaf stuck itself within Lindra’s red curls. She messed inside her tunic, then took out a letter.
It burned to life within Sid’s mind. Rife with emotions, the kind a Weaver like him could use.
“This is to help you remember. How far we’ve come. What’s at stake.”
She brought the letter closer to his face. “Read.”
The letter pulled at him. It compelled him to read, its fire intoxicating.
The curvy script meant nothing to Sid. He looked beyond it, entering a world exclusive to a Weaver. He transposed himself within the letter and everything faded to its cream-coloured stock.
The image flew through the darkness, jumped over rooftops. In search of something. Someone.
It stopped in a clearing between the buildings. A conjunction of alleyways lay below. Within its shadow sat a tall dark-haired man. His legs beneath him, his long dark hair obstructed his face.
Lindra went down the ladder leading into the clearing. As silent as possible. The man was dangerous. The king had sent her to find out how dangerous.
“You’re finally here.” The man said. He stood up, his tall body towering over her. The look in his eye carried a maniacal quality. His grin was crooked, a complement to his eyes.
Lindra smiled, something about him made her feel at ease. He didn’t look dangerous, he looked scared. Like he had driven himself into a corner and couldn’t get himself out anymore.
“If you give me the book, I’ll make sure it’s quick.” Said the man.
Lindra frowned and patted her tunic. She had carried her diary with her.
He lunged. Lindra stepped aside and gave him a firm push as he flew past. He crashed into the ground and whimpered. He remained there, motionless.
“I’m not giving you anything. Except-” He was like a beaten dog, laying there on the ground. “My name. I’m Lindra.”
The man whimpered even louder. Then he sucked in a breath. “I’m Siweld.”
“I’ll call you Sid!” Lindra summoned all the laughter she could manage.
The man rose slowly, his eyes reddened, but below them stood a smile as innocent as a child’s.
Darkness receded, and Sid popped out of the trance, staring straight into Lindra’s eyes.
“I took you from that darkness. We started something then. Don’t let that be for nothing.”
Sid grimaced. She was right as usual. But he didn’t want to accept it.
He grabbed her hand and stood up, poised to run. “We’re running.”
“Sid-” She said.
But he looked her in the eye with the fiercest of determinations he could muster. “You’re not dying! We’re staying together.” She seemed to jolt into action.
The guard yelled behind them, but they ignored it. They ran through long lanes of trees, the leaves cracking beneath their feet. A smile erupted on Lindra’s face, the excitement a burning candle within her.
They ran out of the park, and into the grey and black buildings beyond. There was no sound except for their footsteps.
“No one’s following us…” Lindra’s big green eyes focused on Sid’s. “What if this works?” Her smile erupted once again, the same way it had when she first met him. When she had saved him from misery.
“I hope so.” Said Sid. “I know you were asking this of me for the better of the country… But I can’t lose you. You’re my light, you keep me sane.” His breath caught within his throat.
Lindra’s smile withered. Her eyes became empty. She stood up, and turned, ready to walk away. The waiver she’d signed was being used.
“Lindra!” Called Sid, and she halted, resisting the pull. Impressive by its own right. “Do you have anything on you? Your seal?” He pleaded.
“I… Don’t… Have…” Lindra wheezed, still able to stay still. “Paper!” She said as she pulled out a stamp from her pocket.
“Your hand.” Said Sid, appearing next to her. “It has to be you!”
With shuddering motions, Lindra placed the stamp against her hand, it held her signature. The emotion of allowance. A weapon to a Weaver. And a counter for Sid.
He placed his hand on hers, following as she walked to an undetermined location.
I allow you free will! Thought Sid, and the stamp disappeared. Lindra stopped. Her smile returned. And Sid blew out a breath of relief. “The harbour.” He said. “We need to get out of here. The king will understand.”
Lindra nodded. “I’m free.” She said. “Thank you, Sid.” She moved to kiss him, but Sid was already running.
“When we’re on a ship, honey. Then.”
She nodded and followed Sid.
Through darkened alley’s they ran. Further and further until the air became filled with salt and the odour of stale water lapping up on the quays.
“Almost there!” Said Lindra. Large shadows doomed through the light at the end of the alleyway. Ships. Their only possible method of escape.
“Stop!” Cried a man, standing in front of them. He wore brown and cream clothing. A book strapped to his belt, a sword hung over it. “Did you really think we had no contingency plan?”
“Can’t expect us to think you’re smart!” Cried Lindra, and she turned short, Sid followed. A second group stood in their way. Same weapons, same attire. The Quills, warriors in service of the Weavers.
Sid counted ten. He was useless in a fight and Lindra had no weapons.
Lindra sucked her teeth, her breath became rushed. She spun toward Sid and planted a kiss on his lips. It left Sid awestruck, his heart beat like it had in the beginning.
A book landed in his lap. It burned with a store of emotion that almost hurt him. It read diary at the front. A necklace with a green stone and a red backdrop hung suddenly around his neck. It swung above the book.
“So you don’t forget me.” She said. “Do it, Sid.”
The soldiers closed in, pushing past Sid, and through to Lindra. A dull sound crashed through the alleyway, and Lindra buckled over.
“No…” Sid muttered. “I love you!” He cried.
“I love you too!” She said, but the soldiers spared them no time. They pushed her away. The back of Sid’s wife moved further and further.
“Come on, you idiot.” He said to himself, and he opened the diary in front of him. The letters dissolved and swirled into him. A trail of blackened ink that mirrored his wife. Her whole life existed inside of the book. Scenes flew past too fast for him to see, but he processed them anyway. The rush ended, and he knew her whole life. Who she had been. The woman she had become.
He took that essence, the thing that made Lindra herself, and cast it out. Removed it from the world, using up all the energy in one massive burst. To take a life lived, and remove it from history.
He opened his eyes and saw the soldiers gaping at one another. An opening between them where Lindra had been before.
His heart wrenched within his chest. He gripped the diary hard, it lay lifeless within his hands. He screamed, hard and guttural. Hurting his throat. The Quills raised eyebrows at him, and left. Already forgotten her.
As the rest of the world would.
But not Sid. He rubbed the necklace with his thumb. He would remember her.
Selma Writes says
Hi Nick, you were in E like me. Yours was one of the first pieces I read. I loved it then and still do. You did great with your piece. Loved your sad story. Best of luck to you. Selma.